Friday, April 16, 2010


Judges 4-6

In chapter four, we find out that "after Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD." (This is, of course, the theme of the book.) The LORD put Israel under the reign of Jabin, "a king of Canaan," who oppressed them for twenty years. Deborah, "a prophetess... was leading Israel at that time." She sent for Barak, the son of Abinoam and told him that the LORD commanded him to take 10,000 men "and lead the way to Mount Tabor." He said that he'd go only if she when with him and she agreed, but said that "because of the way you are going about this," the LORD was going to hand Sisera (the command of Jabin's army) "over to a woman." During the battle, "the LORD routed Sisera" and he fled, and stopped at the tent of Jael, wife of Heber (a Kenite). She gave him milk and put a cloth over him, then, while he was sleeping, drove a tent spike through his temples into the ground, killing him. When Barak came looking for him, Jael showed him lying dead on the ground.

Chapter five features the Song of Deborah, a song that Deborah and Barak sang praising the lord, and telling the story of their suffering under Jabin, the battle that they won, and the deeds of Jael. "Then the land had peace forty years."

Chapter six begins with, "again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD." This time the LORD raised up Midian as an oppressor, and "Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help." The LORD sent an angel to Gideon to say that "the LORD is with you, mighty warrior." Gideon was resistant to the call, saying that he was the weakest in his family, and his "clan is the weakest in Manasseh." The LORD told him that he would be with him. Gideon offered a sacrifice, and was afraid when "fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread." The LORD then told him to tear down his father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole, and he did it in the night as he was afraid of the reaction of his family and the men of the town. In the morning, when the others saw what had been done, they asked who did it, and investigation reveals that it was Gideon. When the town's people wanted to kill him, his father Joash defended him, ask "are you going to plead Baal's cause?" So "the spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon" and he blew a trumpet, gathering people to join him. He then asked the LORD to give him more signs, first asking that he leave dew on a fleece while the rest of the ground was dry, and then leaving the fleece dry with dew on the rest of the ground, each of which the LORD did.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • One of the things about the judges is that almost all of them are people who are, or come from circumstances which are, unexpected. Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest family of one of the tribes, Ehud was crippled in his right hand, Deborah was a woman, but each was called and led.
  • It's interesting that, no matter how much evidence the LORD gave Gideon, he kept asking for more. Yet he is remembered as one of the major judges.

Proverbs 25:15-25

There's an interesting note to this passage, as these are alleged to be proverbs of Solomon, but they were "copied by the men of Hezekiah" who ruled much later. Were they added to a book late, creating the book of proverbs we know? Were all of the proverbs gathered in the time of Hezekiah? I seem to have a vague recollection of books of the law being rediscovered during one of the reigns, maybe Hezekiah's. It's something that I'll try to keep in mind when I get to Kings...

Proverbs 25
More Proverbs of Solomon
1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,
so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.

4 Remove the dross from the silver,
and out comes material for the silversmith;

5 remove the wicked from the king's presence,
and his throne will be established through righteousness.

6 Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence,
and do not claim a place among great men;

7 it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here,"
than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
What you have seen with your eyes

8 do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?

9 If you argue your case with a neighbor,
do not betray another man's confidence,

10 or he who hears it may shame you
and you will never lose your bad reputation.

11 A word aptly spoken
is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear.

13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the spirit of his masters.

14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.

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